There is a certain romanticism of a bygone era as you stroll around the bustling streets of Cambodia’s capital by cyclo. Nowadays, the number of drivers are dwindling as motobikes, tuk tuks and cars have been gradually phasing out cyclos but you can still enjoy a laid back ride while taking in the vibrant street life of Phnom Penh.
Cyclo drivers tend to be older, often from the countryside, and generally don’t speak much English. It’s best if you learn the Khmer name of the place you want to go, or stick to pagodas and markets as useful landmarks.
Introduced to Phnom Penh streets in 1936, three-wheeler cyclos are recognizably Cambodian and an iconic part of country’s transportation history. The driver perches behind on a high seat above the third wheel, overlooking the passenger and with good visibility of the road ahead. Cyclos are pedal powered and the brakes are operated by a hand-pulled lever behind the driver, but you’ll never be travelling very fast, anyway.
If you find yourself walking the streets of Phnom Penh, you’ll most like come across a cyclo driver. Take a ride and the sights and sounds as you roll along in this iconic mode of transportation.